Pacers confident heading into Game 5


Apr 26

Though the Pacers find themselves down 3-1 in their first round best-of-seven series with the Bulls as the series returns to Chicago, there is no shortage of confidence in the Indiana locker room.

“We feel like if we win this game tonight, we’ll win the series,” said Pacers coach Frank Vogel, adding that his players share that belief “very strongly.”

Indiana forward Danny Granger echoed that sentiment following the team’s shootaround at the United Center Tuesday morning.

“I honestly believe that,” Granger said. “If we win tonight on their home court, we’ve got to go back to Indiana, where we have the better odds of winning. Honestly, a Game 7 is going be a tossup. Whoever plays better that night is going to win the series.”

Before a Game 7—or Game 6, for that matter—is played, Indiana must do something it has not done in four trips to Chicago this season: Win at the United Center.

Granger, though, expects his team to be in a position to do just that.

“I think we’re going to come out and it’s going to be a game very similar to the first four games,” said Granger. “I think we have the momentum coming this way. For four games, we haven’t won all of them, but we’ve outplayed them. We know we can play here and we know we can get a win here.”

As they did in both games at Indiana, success for the Pacers will in part be attributed to whether they can again slow down Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. Suffering from a sprained left ankle and officially listed as questionable, Rose is adamant he will play in Game 5.

Vogel and the Pacers are preparing for nothing less than Rose’s best effort, while brushing off the talk that he’ll be anything less than that.

“I just ignore it,” said Vogel. “We think he’s going to be 100 percent and we think he’ll be attacking the basket.”

Vogel also acknowledged that should Rose demonstrate any ill effects as a result of the injury, Indiana’s game plan could change. But he isn’t counting on that being the case.

“Unless something is glaring—that he’s limited in some way, we’ll attack him in a slightly different way,” said Vogel of Rose. “But I’m not expecting to see him limited at all.”

Pacers point guard Darren Collison has also played with a sprained ankle this series suffered in Game 2. Collision said he’s gotten better primarily through treatment and has taken painkillers to allow him to play.

“You’ve got to assume everybody is 100 percent,” said Collison of Rose. “You can’t relax on anybody. He’s going to play and that’s all that matters.”

Regardless of what happens in Game 5, Vogel said he maintains a great sense of optimism about the way the Pacers have played and what the future might hold.

“They’re a bunch of gamers,” Vogel said of his team. “They’re young and they make mistakes, but our future is very, very bright. The young guys we have on this team are the pieces that we need in place to start building for a championship.”

Audio—Pacers interim coach Frank Vogel comments at shootaround (04.26.2011):

Audio—Pacers forward Danny Granger comments at shootaround (04.26.2011):

Audio—Pacers guard Darren Collison comments at shootaround (04.26.2011):

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